Today, the urge to become an entrepreneur is rising among the urban youth who are willing to quit their jobs and become their own bosses. And the booming Indian retail sector is providing them that environment where they can aspire to fulfill their ambition. Even though the penetration of the organised retail in Indian market is much below the levels of other countries but according to a survey conducted in 2008 by the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), the Indian retail industry was estimated to be worth Rs 13-14 lakh crore.
Right pool of talent
However, before investing in the robust Indian retail sector it is always advisable to understand the market size, the geography, the competition and to select the right business format before starting any venture. With a word of caution Ashutosh Garg, Founder of Guardian Lifecare says, “Never to start any venture unless you have all the resources and an adequate fund for at least 18 months.”
Meanwhile, it has often been observed that procuring money and starting a venture is not as difficult as getting the right pool of skilled manpower. On the long run it is only the trained staff that would help in sustaining the company. The retail industry employs over 35 million persons with the majority of the employment being in unorganised sector. The employment in the organised segment is about 0.3 million people.
It was observed that the non availability of the skilled manpower across functions becomes one of the prime challenges when a retail venture takes off. As per an analysis, ill-prepared, disinterested and unwelcoming salespeople lead to loss of business and word-of-mouth. It is the biggest challenge in retailing today. Not just one need to hire the right talent but also have an effective HR system to encourage and train employees, manage performance, and acknowledge and recognise a good performance. This will enhance the chance for employee advancement and to retain hired employees.
Also, imparting adequate training and at the same time ensuring that they present the right image to the customers poses a big hindrance for retailers. It is but obvious that training is a costly affair but without a judicious investment in manpower the shortage of skilled manpower would be experienced sooner or later.
Undoubtedly, organised retailing is labour-intensive. The retail sector is the second largest employer in India.
Going by the roll out plans of various big players and the pace at which the sector is growing, there will be a very high demand for manpower in the near future. Industry insiders estimate that 8 million people will be required in organised retail by 2011.
This clearly depicts that human resource is the backbone of Indian retail sector and needs judicious investment to support its growth. The requirement is large at the grass root level---support staff or customer care associates.
As the sector is expanding, it is also generating tremendous indirect employment through security, electrical and mechanical maintenance, packaging, sorting, property management services, and parking etc.
Measuring these multiple dimensions of the job opportunities created by the sector, there is requirement for qualified and trained manpower. This gives rise to the need to provide appropriate training to the staff wherein they get right exposure and are aptly equipped with progressive working methods. As there is paucity of vocational institutes, most retailers in India are coming up with small training institutes.
Some of the large players in organised retail who have taken up training initiatives are Vishal Retail, and academies like Spencer's Pragati and Future Learning and Development Academies in Ahmadabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. Similarly, Bharti Walmart with the Delhi Government had launched its second Bharti Walmart Training Centre in New Delhi to bridge the shortage of skilled workers for organised retail and cash-and-carry stores.
Commenting on how to sustain and capitalise on the manpower at the ‘6th Annual TiE Retail Summit 2010’ in Delhi, Vikram Bhatia, MD at Fitness First said, “People are attracted, invited and motivated to be a part of the organisation. At Fitness First we are not just nurturing a staff but nurturing loyalty through discipline and integrity.”